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  • Wild Forests Making Sense with PeopleWild Forests Making Sense with PeopleOn meanings of forests connected to Indian subcontinentOn meanings of forests connected to Indian subcontinent

    Siemenpuu Foundation, FinlandTamil Nadu Core Team (TNCT) / CEDA TRUST, IndiaSouth Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (SADED), IndiaNational Adivasi Alliance (NAAlliance), IndiaFriends of Earth International (FoEI), (Forest and Biodiversity Program)Friends of the Earth FinlandCoalition for Environment and Development

  • On meanings of forests connected to Indian subcontinent

    Wild Forests Making Sense with People

    Published by

    Siemenpuu Foundation, Finland

    Tamil Nadu Core Team (TNCT) / CEDA TRUST, India

    South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (SADED), India

    National Adivasi Alliance (NAAlliance), India

    Friends of Earth International (FoEI),

    (Forest and Biodiversity Program)

    Editorial Team

    Anastasia Laitila,

    J.P. Raju

    Jussi Nieminen

    Kai Vaara,

    L. Antonysamy

    Marko Ulvila,

    Mira Kknen,

    Pauliina Tuominen,

    Peter Kuria,

    Roy David

    Sirpa Rovaniemi

    Toni Haapanen,

    Veera Rnkk,

    Vijay Pratap

    Ville-Veikko Hirvel,

    Where it is not othervise mentioned, the photos for this

    publication have been taken/provided by the members of

    the editorial team, by the authors of the articles or by

    their organizations.

    Design and Layout

    JB Multimedia,

    Address for communication

    Siemenpuu Foundation

    Haapaniemenkatu 7-9 B

    00530 Helsinki, Finland

    Telephone: +358 9 2316 3324

    Fax : +358 9 62271892


    98 A, Kooturavu Nagar,

    Dindigul Tamil Nadu, India - 624 005

    Telephone: +91-94430 32424

    Fax : +91-451-2431 040


    7Saving wild forest as home,mother, cultivation& indigenous culture

    23 Modern forest rules vs.Indigenous living with wild forest




    1. Salutations to Mother Nature - life of Jenu Kuruba 2. Tribal people and forest 3. Cultivated wild forest gardens of Kutia and Dongria Kandhs 4. Plea on Forest Life for Adivasi Youth 5. How Adivasi women save the forest by their forest life and their movement

    1. Deforestation and alienation of forest dwellers in India. 2. Meanings of Forest for Paliyan People 3. Forest as a Family and Livelihood for Pardhi Nomads

    All rights reserved , November 2008c

  • 35



    Wilds as living space of Earth

    Ecosystemic cycles of forest with land, water and human society


    1. Wilds and Forests 2. Glimpses of Shringar Bhum

    1. Gond Jungle culture and revival of its education 2. Baiga Jungle school 3. Reviving Indigenous Herbal Practices4. Bishnois; The Ecological Stewards 5. Sacred Groves

    1. Significance of Mangrove Forests for the Coastal Areas of Tamil Nadu2. The Meaning of Forests for Agriculture and water resources in Tamilnadu

    1. Indigenocracy - indigenous community rule of forest, land and water2. Meanings of Forests for Inhabitants of Nepal

    Forest - integral part of indigenous education,health and spirituality

    Towards Community Self-Rule of Indigenous Forest Life

  • Forests mean most importantly one thing i.e. "Life". When we loose forests, we

    loose life; when we preserve forests, we protect life. We do not only protect

    biodiversity and carbon sinks but cultures of forest communities who have

    developed sustainable relations with forests. There is a competition for life.

    Especially, the capitalist mode of production envisages everything in terms of a

    commodity, which does not have life, but only profit. In the modern society, the

    competition is for profit and all meanings of the forests get reduced to economical

    or technological rationality.

    The much advocated global issue of global warming is greatly accelerated due to

    the emission of green house gases, due to the industrial activities in the name of

    fulfilling human needs. On the one hand forest is seen as carbon sink, on the

    other, it faces threat of extinction and again for the profit of the Private Sector by

    Trans-National Corporations etc. The Clean Development Mechanisms and other

    mitigation measures seem not to challenge the core of the problem - the modern

    development paradigm. In the whole game, the multiple meanings of forests that

    are part of the sustainable forest relations are not given space. We should open

    our ears for the voices of Adivasis who see forests not only as a material resource

    but as living beings and as part of their culture and who don't believe in the myth

    of human mastery over nature.

    In the context of Global South including South Asia, the meaning of forest

    drastically changed to fulfil the needs of the colonial imperialism. The money value

    of the forest came to the lime light, the wildlife and the Adivasis were seen as

    hindrance to the development process and many of them were completely

    alienated from their own Mother Nature. Even Free India, did not change its

    attitude towards looking at the forest and its people, be in these hill areas, be the

    forest in the plains or forest along the coast such as mangrove forests.

    Nearly after 60 years, Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers

    (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006, recognises the injustice done to the

    Tribals by saying, "and whereas the forest rights on ancestral lands and their

    habitat were not adequately recognised in the consolidation of State forests during

    the colonial period as well as in independent India resulting in historical injustice to

    the forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who are

    integral to the very survival and sustainability of the forest ecosystem;".

    Mutuality and oneness of all living and non-living is part of existence of forests.

    On this planet only the indigenous people have understood this oneness. This is

    evident from their Vision of Creation. The fact that, unlike the many of the modern

    world, indigenous people, who regard themselves as part of nature have been

    custodians of life, mines, minerals and rivers. Most of us have been actively

    destroying forests since the time of Columbus. The process got accentuated with

    industrial revolution, age of revolution and modernization revolution. If we have to

    save forests, then we must de-learn some of the wrong teachings of these

    revolutions, decolonize our consciousness and restore the legitimacy of

    knowledge systems of different people. Recently Ecuador's Constitution

    recognizes the oneness of life with rivers, mountains and forests. Probably, this is

    the only modern constitution which is not in total control and colonised by the

    modern fundamentalist sensibility. If we have to save forests, combat global

    warming and save homo-sapiens then we need to learn from people living in

    forests and understand where we have gone wrong in relation to forests in

    particular and rest of the natural and social ecology in general.

    In this context, the publication of "Wild Forests - Making Sense with People" is

    timely and meaningful. This will help develop a holistic perspective of forests and

    the people. It takes stock of the situation, analyses the issues, identifies the

    challenges and also highlights what is to be done.

    We should strive that the publication reaches the policy makers, the Adivasis,

    Rights Activists and Nature Conservationists, and also those who turn a blind eye

    to the cause of Adivasis and people living and dependent on forest in the plains

    and along the coast and for the whole of humankind. The Editorial Team, the

    Authors, who have contributed and the Publishers deserve great appreciation from

    everyone for the timely contribution.


    L. Antonysamy Mira Kknen Vijay Pratap

    Editor-in-Chief, North-South Perspective Vice-Chairperson Convener

    Convener; Siemenpu Foundation South Asian Dialogues on

    Tamil Nadu Core Team Ecological Democracy

  • For survival of life on Earth, we need to find more sustainable relationship

    between world's forest and human life. It is important to understand how different

    meanings of forest may help this or relate to it.

    This publication presents articles on different meanings of forest in India from

    writers, whose work and vision we see to promote survival of such human life

    which is an integral and sustainable part of indigenous forest life. With over 90

    million indigenous tribal people, India has world's largest indigenous population,

    most of whom have until recently been living in a relatively sustainable way in the

    wild forests or closely connected to them.

    The way indigenous forest dwellers of India see and experience the life and its

    changes in the wilds where they live, deserves a place in a wider global dialogue.

    We need to understand better how different meanings of wild forest can help

    human life to minimally displace Earth's own, indigenous growth of trees, plants

    and all life.

    In this p


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